Researchers have teased out the molecular process that can shut down a marauding, often deadly immune response that kills thousands each year who suffer battlefield casualties, heart attacks, strokes, automobile accidents and oxygen deprivation, according to an article published in the January edition of Molecular Immunology.
The article provides additional detail about the enormously complex biomechanics of a reaction first observed in the lab by Neel Krishna, Ph.D., and Kenji Cunnion, M.D., while conducting pediatric research at Children's Hospital of The King's Daughters (CHKD) and Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) in Norfolk, Va.
"Military medics and ER doctors know that one of the most common killers is an out-of-control immune system that destroys organs after a patient who has suffered a trauma is ostensibly stabilized," said Krishna, a pediatric virologist at CHKD and assistant professor of microbiology and molecular cell biology at EVMS.
The January publication comes almost four years after the two researchers made a serendipitous and unexpected finding when they inserted a shell of a virus that causes childhood diarrhea into a Petri dish primed to measure the response of primordial immune system.
The complement reaction completely stopped.
"Stopping this reaction pharmacologically could save lives on the battlefield, in hospital emergency rooms and in neonatal intensive care centers, where doctors struggle to save oxygen-deprived newborns," said Krishna. "Temporarily stopping the response could have a huge impact in trauma and save many lives."
Over the last four years, Krishna and Cunnion have successfully teased out the precise biological mechanism behind this unexpected response and identified the specific molecular region of the viral shell that stops the complement process.
One of the oldest biological mechanisms in the evolution of life, the complement system is so complex that research scientists spend e
|Contact: Doug Gardner|
Eastern Virginia Medical School